My Faith in Nerds: Stronger Than Any Gelatinous Cube

dConstruct 2010: Merlin Mann – “Kerning, Orgasms & Those Goddamned Japanese Toothpicks” (NSFW)

ME – Kerning, Orgasms And Those Goddamned Japanese Toothpicks on Huffduffer

Download the audio | Huffduff it


Let’s be honest. I don’t go…mmmm…places very often.

I sit in this chair. I go to the Safeway with my daughter. Sometimes, I take the train downtown to get a haircut. I check the mail.

But, by and large, like most nerds, I’m without question, a bit of a shut-in.

Which makes it more than a little ironic that my first trip off the North American continent brought me all the way to Brighton, England‘s wonderful dConstruct Conference.


Which wonderful conference placed me inside a very royal complex, alone on a very large stage, 90 seconds after being informed I’d better be entertaining, because I’d be conducting my oration on the same spot where, a scant 36 years earlier, ABBA had become international stars by singing an up-tempo number about giving up. So, y’know. No pressure.

Commanded to this location by two of my web heroes, I was told I could speak about whatever I wanted. So, wow, to quote the ladies of ABBA, how could I ever refuse?

Thus, I stood on that stage for over 35 minutes, rambling to 800 talented, creative people about Dungeons & Dragons, japanese toothpicks, torrenting Photoshop, as well as what I used to find myself doing after a long evening of shooting mutants in Stargate.1

But, mostly? Yes. Mostly, I stood on a stage thousands of miles from the chair from which I barely move, and I told a lot of really smart people that they were nerds. I also told them they should get out more.

I swear: it made sense at the time.

toothpick

Some Serious Talent

My talk about the challenges and opportunities of being a giant nerd seemed well received. Honestly, I’m very happy with how it turned out. But–oh, brother–was I ever up against some heavy hitters. Serious Lou Gehrig shit.

I’ll leave it to other, more eloquent folks to tell you what a wonderful day this was. But I will very much suggest you learn this for yourself by listening to the audio of the fantastic talks. Because every one of them is a corker.

Additionally, like I said, Tom Coates put on one of the loveliest slide decks it’s ever been my pleasure to see (56MB PDF).

Great speakers, great hosts, wonderful attendees (who aren’t above buying a yank a pint [thanks, everybody]).

And, Thanks, dConstruct

I have to admit, I’m kind of over conferences as a thing, which makes it even more crazy when I go to one, and it blows me out of the water with the care and quality of the event, the speakers, and the attendees. dConstruct was absolutely one of those blown-out-of-the-water events.

Merlin Mann
(photo: happy.apple)

As I learned over and over again–yes, like me–these folks are nerds. But, brother are they ever talented nerds who care and care. Which I just love so much.

I’ll take a nerdy bunch of fontdorks and cellists over a splashy mega-conference full of VC pitches and skanks pushing free Red Bull anytime. Anytime.

dConstruct was simply a top-notch operation from end-to-end, and I’m insanely grateful that I was invited to participate. Thanks, Clearleft.

And, you, the reader? If you get the chance next time, go. Heck, I might even leave this chair and go there, myself. Maybe.

I suppose when Dr. Who’s over, I could just let these 20-sided dice decide for me. Lemme see…what’s my Armor Class and Hit Points…?


Listen for Yourself2

dConstruct Podcast

type samples.acorn


  1. Hint: Number Three

  2. Code for these was stolen wholesale from the dConstruct site. Jeremy, et al – don’t hesitate to tell me if that’s a problem.Srsly. 

43 Folders icon
My Faith in Nerds: Stronger Than Any Gelatinous Cube” was written by Merlin Mann for 43Folders.com and was originally posted on September 10, 2010. Except as noted, it’s ©2010 Merlin Mann and licensed for reuse under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. “Why a footer?

dConstruct 2010: Merlin Mann – “Kerning, Orgasms & Those Goddamned Japanese Toothpicks” (NSFW)

ME – Kerning, Orgasms And Those Goddamned Japanese Toothpicks on Huffduffer

Download the audio | Huffduff it


Let’s be honest. I don’t go…mmmm…places very often.

I sit in this chair. I go to the Safeway with my daughter. Sometimes, I take the train downtown to get a haircut. I check the mail.

But, by and large, like most nerds, I’m without question, a bit of a shut-in.

Which makes it more than a little ironic that my first trip off the North American continent brought me all the way to Brighton, England‘s wonderful dConstruct Conference.

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